NC State vs UNC: Keys to the Game

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NC State makes the short trip to Chapel Hill to take on the North Carolina Tarheels Saturday at 8 o’clock. Not only will the rivalry game be front and center but so will the wintry weather. NC State comes into Saturday’s game following an impressive win over Virginia Tech while UNC narrowly escaped Clemson 89-86. What are the keys to the game for NC State to triumph over the Tarheels on Saturday night?

Terry Henderson needs to be solid for NC State to win…

Henderson has been having a great season for NC State averaging 16.2 PPG and giving Mark Gottfried a valued leader. Terry has been a welcome addition both offensively and defensively. Henderson will have his hands full this Saturday as he will most likely be called upon to guard Justin Jackson. Jackson has a height advantage over Henderson; however, Henderson is athletic enough to make him work. Terry must be disciplined and not pick up early fouls that force Gottfried’s hand as he is too important to the Wolfpack. Playing in the Dean Dome NC State needs Henderson on the floor. Offensively Terry must be aggressive like he was aginst the Hokies. Aginst Virginia Tech Terry kept getting to his spots and fought through some early misses consequently leading him to find his rhythm. NC State’s offense is much more fluid when Henderson has it going.

Defensively NC State has to limit Carolina to one shot…

Carolina ranks number one in the NCAA in rebounding margin at plus 14. They also average 16.3 offensive rebounds per game which are a big reason why they average 87.9 PPG. The Wolfpack will need to box out and collectively win 50-50 balls if they are going to beat North Carolina. Malik Abu and company have to take away Kennedy Meeks who leads the Tarheels in boards per game at 9.9.

The Pack needs to attack the paint…

62 is the number of points in the paint for NC State in their win over Virginia Tech. Malik Abu must keep being aggressive hunting for dunks and quick face-up attacks. Carolina is not deep at the forward and center positions making them susceptible to foul trouble. NC State guards need to feed the post as State has an advantage in the paint. An inside-out attack will allow NC State guards to have the needed space to create plays as well as yield open threes. The Wolfpack will need to be physical, not backing down or settling for jump shots if they are going to win Saturday.

Dennis Smith must allow the game to come to him…

Joel Berry is tough and physical on defense. Berry likes to pick his man up early beyond the half court line forcing them to change directions as well as creating problems with entry passes. Smith needs to be patient and ready for this type of physical defense and be smart in attacking with the pass. He needs to trust that he will get the ball back and allow Dorn and Henderson to take pressure off of him by advancing and initiating the offense occasionally. Dennis has all the tools to beat Berry; however, he cannot embark on an individual battle of trying to one up him each possession. NC State will need Smith’s complete arsenal on full display to knock off Carolina.

The Wolfpack are coming off their best game of the season heading into Saturday’s showdown with the Tarheels. NC State must forget that performance as it has no bearing on beating Carolina. Focus and the ability to play through all circumstances will be critical for NC State to beat Roy Williams and company. The Wolfpack and the Tarheels will tip-off at 8 o’clock with coverage on ESPN.

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3 months 17 days ago

Gott has 3-4 bigs that he can throw at Meeks. Hopefully the refs allow some physical play. The number of whistles will largely determine our effectiveness on defense.

Member
3 months 17 days ago

This game to me is a coin toss. Wolfpack are bad on the road, but unc not as good as advertised preseason. They are beatable. Would love to spank their asses in Chapel Hill. Dennis needs to continue looking for his guys. He mostly played really smart the last game. Using a combination of pump fakes, strong drives, and good passes to guys where they need the ball.

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